Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game Notes: August 14 at Potomac
Today, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue a three-game set against the Potomac Nationals (a Washington Nationals affiliate) with the second game of the series beginning at 7:05 p.m. This evening, RHP Javier Assad (4-8, 3.63 ERA) starts for Myrtle Beach against LHP Nick Raquet (9-8, 4.38 ERA). Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Broadcast, TuneIn and the MiLB First Pitch app.
MARQUEZ DOMINATES, RAIN SHORTENS BIRDS WIN
Brailyn Marquez threw five innings in a complete-game shutout due to rain in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 8-0 win over the Potomac Nationals from Pfitzner Stadium on Tuesday. Before the rain set in after the fifth, Marquez threw five innings, allowing three hits while striking out four and not walking a batter. The lefty has now thrown 10 shutout innings to start his High-A career. The Pelicans jumped out in front with four runs on the first. Following singles from Carlos Sepulveda and Grant Fennell, Cam Balego, Miguel Amaya (two-run) and Luke Reynolds all smashed doubles to make it 4-0. The Birds added on with two more in the fourth and a pair more in the fifth. Fennell, Aramis Ademan and Sepulveda all ended up with multi-hit games while Amaya drove in three.
MY OH AMAYA
Miguel Amaya has been a hot hitter for the Pelicans over the last month. After hitting just .217/.353/.361 with five homers in the first half of the season (49 games), he is hitting a strong .268/.375/.472 with five home runs in the second half of the season (37 games). His second half OPS (.847) is 133 points higher than his first-half OPS (.714). Since July 4, Amaya is hitting .318/.433/.543 with eight doubles, four home runs, 21 RBIs and 15 BB compared to 14 strikeouts in a span of 25 games. The Pelicans catcher is within two long balls of his career-best 12 he hit with Low-A South Bend in 2018. In 2018, his second-half OPS (.634) was much lower than his first half mark (.865). Defensively, Amaya also has the MiLB lead with caught-stealings (43).
AWAY FROM THE FRIENDLY CONFINES
Inside the pitcher-friendly TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, the Birds have been an entirely different team than when they are on the road. At home, the Pelicans own the third-best ERA in the league (3.56), while they are last (10th) in road ERA (4.78) in the Carolina League. Their road slashline of .237/.325/.355 is also much better than home games: .219/.312/.321. The Birds have hit 31 home runs at home and allowed 40 while they have hit 34 homers on the road in 10 fewer games and allowed a league-worst 45 road blasts.
WHEN THE RED SIGN IS FLASHING, DO NOT WALK
The Pelicans pitching staff has not given up many free passes over the last few games. As a team, Myrtle Beach arms have just walked seven batters over their last six games and have not walked a single batter three times in that span. On the year, when walking three or fewer, the Birds are 37-39, much better than their overall record of 47-71. Another key has been the bullpen, which has just walked three batters over their last six games. When the bullpen is on, so are the Pelicans, as they are 28-15 when the bullpen does not allow any runs.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?
The Pelicans are two games back of the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for second place in the Southern Division as of Wednesday. If the season were to end today, the Woodpeckers would be in the playoffs and they also hold the head-to-head lead over the Pelicans. Winston-Salem is 2.5 games back of the Pelicans and 4.5 back of the Woodpeckers. The Pelicans have captured the season series against the Dash while Winston-Salem lost the season series with Fayetteville. Fayetteville, which was Buies Creek last season, won the Mills Cup title in 2018 in a one-game, hurricane-shortened series.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Pelicans are on a short three-game road stretch at Potomac, starting on Tuesday. The Birds will be back home for a six-game stretch in seven days (separated by an off day) from August 16 through 22 to finish off the home slate. In their last 19 games, 13 will be on the road. The Birds finish off the season with an 11-game road trip against Northern Division foes, playing three in Salem, four in Potomac and four in Wilmington.
MYRTLE BEACH'S JAVY
Today's starter, Javier Assad, has been one of the most consistent pitchers all season long for the Pelicans. The Mid-Season All-Star in the Carolina League makes his team-best 20th start today. He already leads the team with 103.2 innings pitched this season. He also leads all qualifiers in the league with a .233 batting average against. Over his last two starts, both quality starts, Assad has a 2.13 ERA, allowing just three runs over 12.2 innings. In his most recent start against Winston-Salem, he came within one out of a seven-inning start, walking the last batter he faced on a close 3-2 pitch before being removed due to a high pitch count.
The Pelicans lead the league in walks with 435 (3.7 per game). Cam Balego has been a master at drawing base on balls in the second half. Since July 9 (31 games), Balego leads all of baseball (Major and Minor Leagues) with 30 walks. After walking 19 times in 48 games in the first half, Balego has walked 33 times 49 games in the second half (1st half OBP: .347, 2nd half OBP: .417). Balego also leads the team with 15 hit-by-pitches this season.
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